Anthropologists investigate Brian Laundrie death

Gabby Petito Case

(NewsNation Now) — A forensic anthropologist says the ability to find out when and how Brian Laundrie died depends on whether there were injuries that affected his bones.

“If it turns out that it was something that only affected soft tissue, or if it’s something that involves only toxicology, then I think that’s where the question remains in terms of what they’ll be able to figure out,” Dr. Erin Kimmerle, an associate professor of forensic anthropology at the University of Southern Florida, said on NewsNation Prime.

Laundrie’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, said Friday that Brian’s remains were sent to an anthropologist because medical examiners could not determine his cause of death.

“It’s very common for forensic anthropologists to get involved, anytime there is decomposing, or skeletonized remains; we work as essentially expert witness or scientific witness for medical examiners,” Kimmerle said.

Investigators have not said exactly what condition the remains were in when they found them Wednesday. Sources have told NewsNation they were bones and a partial skull.

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Kimmerle said “remains can become scattered quite easily” in Florida because, during the rainy season, low lying areas fill up with water. Vultures and birds also do a lot of damage.  

NewsNation’s Rudabeh Shahbazi asked Kimmerle if anthropologists will also be able to tell if the body was tampered with.

“If they can clear that out and properly excavate that scene, then you get a lot of that information in context back and so that would be the key for trying to make interpretations about the circumstances surrounding death,” Kimmerle said.

She says the excavation process usually takes about a week.

Police sources previously told NewsNation’s Brian Entin they are confident they will “eventually” determine a cause of death.

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